Youth appears in court accused of sexually abusing girl aged seven

A youth is facing trial accused of sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared at the Dublin Children's Court charged with the offence which is alleged to have occurred in Co. Kildare in 2014, when he was aged 14.

The court heard that the complainant in the case is now aged seven.

It was the teen’s second hearing since he was charged in February.

Judge Alan Mitchell said that a hearing would have to be held to determine the trial venue. He said the Children’s Court could not impose a sentence of more than one year while the circuit court could impose a term of about five years.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was urging the court to refuse jurisdiction, State solicitor Tom Conlon said. A book of evidence has been completed and served on the defence.

Judge Mitchell said the defence was entitled to make submissions under Section 75 of the Children Act.

This part of the legislation allows the juvenile court to accept jurisdiction to hear a trial for certain serious offences which would normally get forward sent to a higher court. The defence can cite the age and maturity of the defendant as well as any other relevant factors in setting out grounds for a serious case to remain in the Children’s Court.

Judge Mitchell noted from the boy’s barrister that the defence wanted to make the submissions and needed to fully consider the matter.

The case resumes next week.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, has not yet indicated how he will plead to the charge.

Earlier, the court was told he replied “no comment” when the charge was put to him. As a condition of bail he cannot contact the alleged victim and he has had to provide the investigating garda with contact details.

He has been warned he risked being remanded in custody if he broke the conditions.

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